A K20 million contract has been awarded to a company to sink boreholes to supply water to Mulungushi Rock of Authority in Kabwe where the Patriotic Front (PF) general conference will take place on tomorrow.
The Mulungushi Rock of Authority which is situated at the Mulungushi University has been hit by a water shortage which forced management in October to send away students and close the institution indefinitely.
The contract, awarded to Baba drilling company, is believed to have been initiated at the directive of acting President Guy Scott.
But Central Province permanent secretary Edwidge Mutale says the project was aimed at improving water supply at Mulungushi University.
Mrs Mutale said earlier that as a senior civil servant in Central Province, she had an obligation to ensure that the acting President and Government ministers attending the conference on tomorrow were accommodated in a conducive environment.
Lukanga Water and Sewerage Company (LgWSC) which was initially supposed to lay the pipes was doing supervisory works because the water utility company does not have the manpower to do the urgent works.
LgWSC public relations officer Kings Siachika confirmed the project but did not disclose the value.
Earlier, LgWSC managing director Wencyslouv Makondo said K12.5m was needed to rehabilitate the boreholes and the laying of pipes.
“Mulungushi University is paying for all the contractors and for us we are just doing the supervisory works and then connect water, but I cannot tell exactly how much money is involved. As you know there is urgency attached to this project because the university was closed last month but we did not have enough manpower to withstand the urgency,” said Mr. Siachika.
Efforts to get a comment from university Vice Chancellor Hellicy Ngambi failed as she was reportedly attending university council and senate meetings.
When contacted Mr Makondo said he could not comment on the matter as he was also in the middle of a meeting but a source from the university told the Daily Nation that Dr Scott allegedly directed the release of K20 million for the project.
But UPND Central Province youth chairman Milner Mwanakampwe has condemned Government’s decision to spend huge sums of money to prepare the venue for the PF general conference when students were neglected.
Mr Mwanakampwe said the decision by Dr. Scott must be a wakeup call to Zambians to kick out the PF from Government.
The UPND youth leader complained that when the university suffered the water problem, Government refused to release funds so that a closure could be avoided.
He said it was surprising that just because the PF was holding its general conference, money was secured for the project.
“As UPND, we condemn in the strongest terms the closure of the university which has affected about 2,000 students but Government has found money to pay because PF and Guy Scott are coming here. This is an eye-opener and reason why PF must be kicked out on 20th January next year; this PF government does not have the interest of tertiary education at heart,” Mr Mwanakampwe said.
Twelve excavators have been deployed to the Mulungushi Rock of Authority to ensure that water is made available on Saturday for the PF general conference.